Making Friends

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Yesterday I read Beth's post at Diary of a Playgroup Dropout and found myself wondering (again) just why it is so hard to find "mom friends". No one points out how easy it is to find friends in school (you're surrounded by possibilities). Then you graduate and at work you have co-workers who you get to know well and possibly become friends with. No one warns you that as a stay home mom you may have trouble finding friends.

Well, I've tried to find some friends. No one can say I haven't made some effort. Zoe and I go to GymToddler and swim class at the YMCA. Both of them are parent/child classes. Our first swim class was very small (3 babies) and I actually made "friends" with Heather, one of those moms. Now our class is much bigger. We always stick together during class, but... in the year we've known each other we've only gotten together once outside of swim. Hmm.

Gym class is another story for me. We've continued registering for the class each season, and it always seems to be the same story. Zoe LOVES the class... but I feel like an outsider. It's the "Madison Mom" bunch. They didn't know each other when our children were all 6 months old and started the class. But it's like they automatically swarmed to each other. I'm not in the least attracted to their group. I just don't have the energy to make the effort. Me-jeans and a sweatshirt. Them-corduroys and cashmere sweaters (and occasionally one in pearls!!!). It's a gym class!!! So, I make an effort to talk to the few other sweatshirt moms. But, as the "Madison Moms" are all so interested in chatting during gym class... the other few of us are concentrating more on our child climbing the toddler rock wall, or attempting to use the balance beam, or just running full steam ahead across the tumbling mat. The "Madison Moms" may not be able to point out exactly where in the room their child is, or who is getting shoved by who... but they all have set a coffee date for after class. The rest of us are lucky to have 30 second conversations while our children happen to be in the same place at the same time before running in completely different directions. Our problem seems to be that making friends is secondary to ensuring out children are having fun safely. Oh well.

My most recent friend making attempt is happening in our little neighborhood. It's starting out by following Zoe's lead. On a recent chilly day she was quickly attracted to giggling a few houses down the street. I followed her as she took off running to find the source of the giggling. It was a pair of sisters. One is 4 (Tara) and the other is almost 6 (Emma). For Zoe it was love at first site. She's just 21 months old right now... and is completely mesmerized by the older girls. They also took a quick liking to her. Their mother (Sylvia) and I chatted a bit. We talked mostly about the girls and the neighborhood. It was almost dinner time, and very chilly... so after our short meeting we grabbed our kids to get back inside. We both commented how nice it will be when the weather warms up and we can just have impromptu playtime. Yeah!

So yesterday was a warm day. We had a moment of perfect timing it seems. As we came downstairs from nap time it just so happened that Emma and Tara were heading out for an afternoon walk. They saw us through the door, and Zoe saw them. So, we put on our shoes and rushed out to see them. The 3 girls were just so excited to be walking down the sidewalk together. I was happy for the adult conversation. Our walk ended up being pleasantly interrupted. We ran into some new neighbors. They just moved in about 2 weeks ago. It ends up they have 2 boys. Michael is 3, and Jack is 15 months. So as the kids all played on the sidewalk we chatted with the new mom (Gina).

Then an amazing neighborhood thing seemed to happen. Suddenly there were about 6 moms standing around chatting... and a dozen kids ranging from 15 months to 10 years old. There were basketballs and a wagon and some toddler musical instruments showed up. Everyone had a blast. Suddenly we realized 2 hours had past and it was time for Dads to get home, and dinner to be eaten. Sylvia and I herded our girls back down the street and chatted about how great it will be as it gets warmer and warmer.

So I'm excited now. I may make some friends, yet! Wish me luck!